New Delhi: Hearing a petition seeking direction to the Centre to amend the Constitution and change the name of the country from India to Bharat, Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde told the petitioner on Wednesday that India is already called Bharat in the Constitution.
While declining to entertain the plea, the top court said the petition could be considered as a representation to the government.
A bench headed by the CJI and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy asked the petitioner's counsel, "Why have you come here? India is already called Bharat in the Constitution."
Advocate Ashwin Vaish, appearing for the Delhi-based petitioner, argued that the plea seeked amendment to Article 1 of the Constitution.
To which, the CJI replied, "We can't do that."
He reiterated that India is already called Bharat in the Constitution. Vaish argued that the English name India did not represent the culture and tradition of the country; instead, its origin is Greek, and it is derived from the word 'Indica'.
Vaish said that historically there are many examples where 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' was used, and urged the top court to allow him to make a representation before the appropriate ministries. The top court said that this particular petition be treated as a representation by the Centre.
The plea claimed that this will ensure citizens of the country to get over the colonial past and instil a sense of pride in the nationality.
The petitioner argued that the time is ripe to recognise the country by its original and authentic name 'Bharat', especially when the cities have been renamed in accordance with Indian ethos.
The plea said, "The removal of the English name though appears symbolic, will instil a sense of pride in our nationality, especially for the future generations. In fact, the word India being replaced with Bharat would justify the hard fought freedom achieved by our ancestors."